A paper providing Cabinet with an update on the Council Plan development.
Porfolio Holders – Councillors Isobel Seccombe and Andy Jenns
Councillor Izzi Seccombe (Leader of Council and Chair of Cabinet) explained to the meeting that a new administration should “set out its stall” through its corporate plan. The plan sets out the council’s priorities and allows budget setting and action planning to take place. In terms of overall priorities the new plan is not very different from the one it is to replace. It continues to focus on economic well-being and the protection of the most vulnerable. However, it now refers to making life better for all and to addressing climate change.
Councillor Andy Jenns (Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation) described the process of consultation that had been followed. Response rates had been encouraging although more engagement from communities in the north and east of the county would have been welcome. Overall, the proposed strategic objectives had been well received.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) welcomed the draft plan and agreed that a greater engagement by people in Rugby would have been beneficial. He added that it can be difficult for some people to engage with consultation but eventually service changes are made that will impact on them. Councillor Roodhouse questioned how well the content of the plan will translate into strategies and actions. He also wondered how transparent service delivery is. It was suggested that Power BI has a role in monitoring the effectiveness of the plan. Members need to make the best use of this.
Councillor Heather Timms (Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture) welcomed the Council Plan noting that 897 people have now signed up for the “Voice of Warwickshire” initiative. She asked that the plan contain a reaffirmation of the pledge to plant one tree for each resident of Warwickshire.
Councillor Kam Kaur (Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place) emphasised that the plan serves as a guide to give direction. Under it will sit a series of compartments. People in the north of Warwickshire should be encouraged to engage in the overall process. She concluded that the council is good at producing strategies but needs to be better at establishing how well it is doing in their delivery.
Councillor John Holland observed that the May 2021 election was a major consultation exercise when it was possible to gauge people’s views. He suggested that although Power BI is a useful tool for assessing progress there is a need for independent quality control. Internal Audit operates to support managers and tends to focus on finances. The delivery plan should be reflected in operational business plans and the job descriptions of staff.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe emphasised that through the plan it will be able to enhance the services provided by the council. Covid has prompted a deep dive in the county and enhanced people’s understanding of it. The plan addresses the issues discussed by politicians ahead of the May 2021 election. Matters such as the economy and jobs are featured but people are also encouraged to help themselves.
1) Notes the messages from the Public Engagement exercise and the State of Warwickshire reports as presented in the report, and from the Covid 19 Recovery Closure report presented to the same agenda in relation to the development of the Council Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy
2) Endorses the proposed Areas of Focus and supports the next steps for finalising the Council Plan 2022-2027 as set out in the report.